Gutted! Swanage’s fish festival cancelled due to bad weather

With heavy rain and wind gusts forecast, the difficult decision has been made to cancel the Swanage Fish and Food Festival.

Despite Swanage’s usual favourable microclimate, June’s sunshine has so far failed to materialise for any length of time in 2024, negatively affecting seasonal events and dampening sales of summer goods.

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Aerial of Swanage fish festival 2023
Cenk Albayrak-Touye

A successful Swanage Fish Festival in 2023, encouraged the organisers to widen the focus of the event and rebrand it as a fish and food festival

Heavy rain and wind gusts forecast

The Swanage Fish and Food Festival was scheduled to take place on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th June 2024 at Prince Albert Gardens in Swanage, Dorset.

While there are no weather warnings in place, the heavy rain and wet ground would have made access for the stall holders difficult due to the slope of the gardens.

Wind gusts also risked blowing away gazebos and awnings, in the seafront location.

Food demonstrations with outstanding views set the tone for the festival

The risk of tents and gazebos being blown away by wind gusts prompted the decision to cancel the event

“Great sadness and disappointment”

In a statement, a spokesperson for Swanage Fish and Food Festival said:

“It is with great sadness and disappointment that we have taken the very difficult decision to cancel the Swanage Fish and Food Festival for 15th to 16th June 2024 due to the very wet and windy weather predictions over the coming days.

“Please share this announcement with friends and family far and wide so that we can prevent people making unnecessary trips to Swanage and feeling let down.

“We are totally committed to holding a successful and safe festival for all and believe that going ahead this weekend would put this in jeopardy.

“We wish to thank everyone who has booked a stall, generously sponsored us, agreeing to be part of the demo chef team, all of our wonderful volunteers, everyone who has promoted us in every medium, all businesses who have dressed a window and donated raffle prizes.

“We couldn’t do this without you all and we are so lucky to have you in the fish and food family. We will be back!”

In 2025, the Swanage Fish and Food Festival will be celebrating its 10th anniversary and will be hoping for better luck with the weather.

Aerial of Swanage fish festival 2023
Cenk Albayrak-Touye

Swanage’s economy benefits from successful events like last year’s fish festival

Important contribution to the local economy

There are more than 30 festivals and events planned for 2024 in and around Swanage, which make an important contribution to the local economy.

They attract more visitors into the area who fill the cafes, restaurants and independent shops, as well as staying in the hotels, B and Bs, campsites and rental properties.

Strictly Bulleid Two Saturday 8 June 2024
Andrew PM Wright

The sun came out for some of Swanage Railway’s Strictly Bulleid II event

Successful Swanage Railway gala

On a bright note, Swanage Railway’s new strategy of focussing on special events has so far paid off with the latest success, its Strictly Bulleid II event, attracted large crowds over four days from Thursday 6th to Sunday 9th June 2024.

During the railway gala, featuring eight Bulleid Pacific steam locomotives from the 1940s, more than 4,700 passengers travelled on the trains, with plenty more watching the action from the embankments and bridges.

Four Southern Locomotives on Swanage Railway
Andrew PM Wright

Creating a unique event to draw in the crowds, eight Bulleid Pacific steam locomotives were in action during the event, with four of them pictured here

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